Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839



Originally published in 1863, out-of-print and unavailable for almost a century, Frances Anne Kemble's Journal has long been recognized by historians as unique in the literature of American slavery and invaluable for obtaining a clear view of the "peculiar institution" and of life in the antebellum South.

Fanny Kemble was one of the leading lights of the English stage in the nineteenth century. During a tour of America in the 1830s she met and married a wealthy Philadelphian, Pierce Butler, part of whose fortune derived from his family's vast cotton and rice plantation on the Sea Islands of Georgia. After their marriage she spent several months living on the plantation. Profoundly shocked by what she saw, she recorded her observations of plantation life in a series of journal entries written as letters to a friend. But she never sent the letters, and not until the Civil War was on and Fanny was divorced from Pierce Butler and living in England were they published.

This Brown Thrasher edition incorporates the valuable introduction written by John A. Scott for the 1961 edition published by Alfred A. Knopf, together with the editor's appendices to that edition. It provides the modern reader with the historical and biographical background to move freely and with ease in Mrs. Kemble's world.

Product Details

$26.95  $24.79
University of Georgia Press
Publish Date
March 01, 1984
5.4 X 1.4 X 8.4 inches | 1.3 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Frances Anne Kemble (Author) FRANCES ANNE KEMBLE was a member of a famous theatrical family, and was herself one of the leading lights of the English stage in the nineteenth century. She also published two plays, a volume of poetry, and a number of memoirs about her travels and acting career. John A. Scott (Editor) JOHN A. SCOTT (1916-2010) was a prolific author and editor of both scholarly and general-interest works of American and European history. He taught for many years at the progressive Fieldston School in the Bronx, New York. Although born in England, he served in the U.S. Army in World War II. He was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, for which he received a Purple Heart and American citizenship.


A leading British actress, Fanny Kemble married a wealthy Philadelphian during her American tour in 1834. She abandoned the stage and settled into married life, initially unaware of her husband's 'dreadful possessions, ' some 700 slaves on his coastal Georgia plantations. Her Journal covers a period of almost four months, recording grief and outrage at the depredations of slavery. . . . The University of Georgia Press has restored a rightful classic to print.

--Atlanta Magazine

A classic study of life and the living conditions of both owners and slaves.

--Florida Historical Quarterly

Long recognized as unique in the literature of American slavery and of life in the antebellum South.

--Virginia Quarterly Review